If you take the time to read the label on toothpaste and some types of water, you will usually find fluoride is part of the ingredient list. Fluoride is added to toothpaste and water to improve oral health. Specifically, fluoride bolsters tooth strength. Although fluoride has the potential to cause illness if taken in excessive amounts, fluoride is safe and in use in water systems and toothpaste around the world. So, do not have fear when you read the United States Food and Drug Administration’s warning label on every container of toothpaste regarding the fluoride within the tube. Fluoride really is essential for dental health.
The basics of fluoride
Most people express shock upon learning fluoride is a waste product of aluminum and fertilizer businesses. The chemicals that fluoridate water are not of the pharmaceutical variety as most assume. Rather, they are a waste product of phosphate fertilizer. The reason why fluoride is so effective at improving tooth strength is the fact that it is used in small amounts in water and toothpaste. In fact, fluoride reduces the rate at which teeth decay.
The prudent use of fluoride does wonders for dental health
The government adjusts the fluoride levels in the public tap water supply in order to get the balance just right. Although the ideal amount of fluoride one consumes differs by factors like age and the risk for dental problems, scientists have found fluoride at the proper level in the drinking water reduces cavities by about 30 percent (http://now.tufts.edu/articles/fluoride-teeth-public-water-supply). Since first adding fluoride to the public’s water supply in 1945, there has been a substantial decline in dental decay and tooth loss across the U.S.
The scientific consensus on fluoride
When in doubt, it is almost always best to consult with those who are in the know. In this case, the proper party to consult with is those in the realm of science. The current scientific consensus pertaining to fluoride in the public drinking water is that it is safe and quite effective (https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/11/15/why-you-still-shouldnt-worry-about-fluoridated-drinking-water/#5bde0e173f74). Fluoride added to teeth makes enamel that much more resistant to the demineralization process. This increased resistance slows the decay process a great deal.
Tooth decay occurs as bacteria within dental plaque interact with sugar and generate harmful acid. This acid dissolves the enamel and dentin of teeth. Use fluoridated water and toothpaste, and you will stop the leaching of calcium and minerals from your tooth tissues during the decay process and ultimately preserve your oral health.
Are you sure you are getting the right amount of fluoride?
Take a moment to consider whether you and your loved ones are actually getting the level of fluoride you really need. Do you drink tap water? If you use a filter on your tap water, it might be taking out some of the fluoride. Furthermore, if you drink bottled water, there is a good chance it might not have fluoride or it might have minimal fluoride. Review your habits, get a sense of whether you are consuming enough fluoride and proceed accordingly.
Call our Leawood, KS, dental office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.